Safety and security
The overall security situation in Tajikistan is currently stable. However, you should remain vigilant in public places and be alert to any security-related announcements by the police.
We strongly advise against all travel to the Gorno-Badakhshan region, including the city of Khorog. The Gorno-Badakhshan region is located about 500km south-east of Dunshanbe, the capital of Tajikisan. There are ongoing clashes between the security forces and militants in this area, and the security of foreign nationals cannot be guaranteed.
We also strongly advise against all travel to the Kamarob Gorge in the Rasht region.
Armed incidents continue between border forces and drug traffickers along the Afghan border. Neighbouring countries may unilaterally close borders temporarily.
You should avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby violence, leave the area immediately. Keep yourself informed of developments by monitoring the local media, and stay alert.
Tajikistan shares a continuing threat from terrorism with other countries in Central Asia. Be vigilant in public places and look out for any security-related announcements by the police. Attacks in recent years have been indiscriminate, including in places visited by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Foreign nationals could be potential targets for kidnapping in Tajikistan so follow these basic precautions:
- Get advice from your local contacts about staying safe
- Avoid travelling at night, particularly inter-city
- Avoid travelling alone
- When driving, ensure all car doors are locked
- Vary your routes and departure times – avoid patterns which could be tracked
Pay careful attention to local media for reports of kidnapping activities
Don’t venture off-road in areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, as there are both marked and unmarked minefields. Get local advice in the Tavildara region of central Tajikistan as there are a few minefields dating from the civil war in the mountains.
Tajikistan has not yet developed a tourist infrastructure so you should arrange to be met on arrival and guided by a responsible local business, NGO, tourist or other organisation.
There have been occasional muggings and petty crime against foreigners but Tajikistan’s capital city Dushanbe is relatively safe and there’s little evidence of criminality directed against foreigners throughout the country. However, you should always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Never leave drinks unattended in local bars and restaurants or accepted from strangers
- Lone visitors, in particular, should never accept lifts from strangers
- In rural areas, single women should avoid going out alone at night, and may suffer harassment even during the day.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Tajikistan, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Moscow if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Tajikistan, you should be extremely careful. Roads outside the main towns are poorly maintained and often only accessible by 4WD. Local vehicles are poorly maintained and driving standards are basic. Petrol stations can be limited outside towns and there are no breakdown companies.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Make sure you take all you need for your journey and allow for delays
- Emergency communications such as satellite phones are advisable for up-country travel
- Road travel should only be undertaken in daylight hours
Conditions are particularly treacherous in spring due to the risk of avalanches and landslides. Many interior roads, including the main road from Dushanbe to Khojand, are only open in the summer months.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
If you’re planning to travel to, from and/or within Tajikistan, avoid flying on airlines listed under the EU operating ban. No Western airlines fly to Tajikistan and most international flights to Dushanbe are by the state airline Tajik Air. It is not known whether maintenance procedures are always properly observed or whether passengers are covered by insurance. Tajik Air is not a member of IATA. Only two of their current aircraft (Tupolevs) are allowed to fly into EU airspace (Munich). Flights in Tajikistan may be cancelled at short notice or substantially delayed. Overloading on local flights is not uncommon.
Fri, 09 Jun 2017 18:09:48 BST